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A permanent resident is someone who has been given permanent resident status by immigrating to Canada, but is not a Canadian citizen. Permanent residents are citizens of other countries.
A person in Canada temporarily, like a student or foreign worker, is not a permanent resident.
Refugees who are resettled from overseas become permanent residents through the Government-Assisted Refugee Program or the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Someone who makes a refugee claim in Canada does not become a permanent resident at that time. To become one, the Immigration and Refugee Board must first approve their claim. Then, they must apply for and get permanent resident status.
The permanent resident (PR) card
If you travel outside Canada, the PR card is your proof that you are a permanent resident of Canada. If you leave Canada, you will need this card to re-enter the country on a commercial vehicle, like an airplane, boat, train or bus. If you do NOT have a PR card or your PR card has expired, please contact us before returning to Canada.
Canadian permanent residents need to show their permanent resident card when travelling to Canada in order to prove their permanent resident status. Permanent residents who do not have a PR card, or who are not carrying their PR card when travelling outside the country, will need to obtain a permanent resident travel document before returning to Canada by air mode in order to comply with eTA requirements.
If your PR card expires, it does not mean you have lost permanent resident status.
What permanent residents can do
As a permanent resident, you have the right to:
You must pay taxes and respect all Canadian laws at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.
What permanent residents cannot do
You are not allowed to:
Time spent living in Canada
When you are a permanent resident, you can live outside of Canada, but must live in Canada for at least two years in a five-year period. If you live outside of Canada for longer, you may lose your permanent resident status.
Losing your permanent resident status
Losing your permanent resident status does not happen automatically. You cannot lose your permanent resident status simply by living outside of Canada long enough that you don’t meet the residency requirement. Unless you have gone through an official process, you have not lost or given up your permanent resident status, even though you may not be eligible to return to Canada as a permanent resident.
You may lose your permanent resident status if:
You may lose your permanent resident status in one of the ways described above if:
You do not lose your permanent resident status if your PR card expires.